There Is No Need for a US Military Base in Poland

Originally appeared on The American Conservative.

Trump is floating the possibility of establishing a permanent U.S. military base in Poland:

President Donald Trump said the U.S. is looking “very seriously” at establishing a permanent military base in Poland.

Trump said at an Oval Office meeting Tuesday with Polish President Andrzej Duda that the two would discuss the possibility and “we’re looking at it very seriously.”

“Poland is willing to make a very major contribution to the United States to come in and have a presence in Poland,” Trump added. “If they’re willing to do that, it’s something we will certainly talk about.”

Putting a U.S. base in Poland isn’t necessary for European security, and it would very likely create a rift within NATO. It would further antagonize Russia, and it would create one more overseas military installation that the U.S. doesn’t need to have. Trump is often accused of wanting to “retreat” from the world, but his willingness to entertain this proposal shows that he doesn’t care about stationing U.S. forces abroad so long as someone else is footing most of the bill.

Ben Hodges wrote about a possible U.S. base in Poland earlier this year:

Second, a base in Eastern Europe is unnecessary. The current exercise and deployment program and other important measures – including the placement of equipment needed for armored brigades in pre-positioned stocks – are part of a robust effort to ensure an adequate deterrent against a possible Russian attack.

Putting a new base in Poland doesn’t make sense for the U.S., it adds nothing to NATO’s security, and it would be yet another irritant in an already troubled relationship with Moscow. It’s unnecessary and ill-advised, so it is more likely than not that the president will end up supporting it.

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at The American Conservative, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and is a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Dallas. Follow him on Twitter. This article is reprinted from The American Conservative with permission.